Project HBCU Goes to Baltimore

By Jala Tucker

Two Hampton university students traveled to Baltimore Friday, April 12 to inspire private high school students to attend a Historically Black College/University (HBCU).

During workshops at Roland Park Country School, an all-girls school in the north of the city, Jada Graham and Jala Tucker explained the value of an HBCU education and helped students with the personal statements on their applications.

About 25 students attended the workshop and said they wanted to apply to Morgan State, and Hampton, but most chose Howard, one of the top two highest-rated HBCUs in the country. About 10 students made progress on their applications.

"Even if we just make an impact on one student, I know we are doing something good," Graham said.

The workshop was part of a nonprofit, Project HBCU, created by Graham and Tucker, which specializes in giving students advice on college admissions.

The two entrepreneurs want students to understand their potential for higher education and hope to inspire them to travel outside of their comfort zones. Several students complained about the lack of opportunity in a small market like Baltimore.

The top reasons to go to an HBCU include "not having to be the voice for all Black people," Tucker told the students.

According to Tucker, typically, when black students go to Predominantly White Institutions, they are seen as the spokesperson for black people, since there are not as many black students to share their experiences. At an HBCU, students can freely have their voice without having the burden of representing the entire black community, the two explained.

A personal statement is the first step and one of the most critical parts of a college application.

"Show admissions who you really are in your personal statement," Tucker told them. "Make them want you at their school,"

The Revamping of True Branding

By Lindsay Keener

HAMPTON, VIRGINIA - Brand757, the student-run public relations company operating through the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications, has a problem. How does a company sell itself when it only has the promise of the future?

With no recent portfolio to show clients, Brand757 is re-organizing and selling itself on the skills of current student staff including writing, photography, video, social media management and lots of creativity.

A large portion of the rebranding will include forming teams and attracting new clients to build that much-needed portfolio.

Ironically, the top client of Brand757 is Brand757 because it needs an overhaul, said Michael Watkins, executive director (pictured above right). The second client is Scripps Comm Week in April. Events will include a Scripps Ball fundraiser. Brand757 will be responsible for programming and marketing.

Next semester, the agency plans to do pro bono work for some clients to add to the portfolio.

Most of the 20-some members are new, attracted by the idea of getting expeirence working at a student-run agnecy.

"Public relations has always been of great interest to me. Knowing that I'll get real world experience while I'm in college is amazing," said Taylor Harris, a third year strategic communications major from St. Louis, Missouri.

Brand757 has applied to be an official organization of Hampton University. That way students in other majors can join.

"The goal is to really open up Brand757 to other majors so that the club itself can tap into other resources," said Professor Reynolds, the agency's academic advisor.

Brand757 made its debut in 2015 with a public announcement on the Scripps website, but then lost momentum.Watkins said the problem was the small number of members.

The original announcement promised "full account teams, providing large and small businesses a full range of PR and brand services, such as media relations, collateral development, publicity, communications planning, social media, graphic design, web design, and event planning."

Today, students are taking Brand757 back to its roots.

"There's so much we have to work on as an organization," Watkins said. "We were on hiatus. Because of that we have to recreate who we are. We can't reach clients if we aren't established on campus."

After solidifying the agency as an official campus organization, executives are hoping Hampton University students across campus will see its value.

"Students who are majoring in other fields can grow their resumes and knowledge base," Reynolds said.

Brand757 members hope the new structure and expanded membership will help the company get new clients.

"Those would include IT companies, the Scripps Howard website and running WHOV's social platform," Reynolds said.

Those who join Brand757 must be willing to work their way up.

"The organization is structured around positions," Reynolds said. "Freshman and sophomores are in a shadow period, learning the ropes so they can reach the higher positions by the end of their academic career."

Then, Reynolds said, they must be willing to pass their wisdom along. The goal, Reynolds said, is for students to teach the incoming members to ensure the organization has longevity.

"You are creating your legacy within this organization and how it is going to be known across this campus, "Reynolds said.

Brand757 is on its way to becoming a stable organization in the Hampton Roads community. With solutions in place, agency members are confident they will make up for lost time. They are sold on Brand757.

HU students help middle-schoolers navigate the jungle

By Derrick Collins II

Camera phones flashed. Uncomfortably tightened braces adorned smiling white teeth. The aroma of crisp notebook paper and wooden pencils permeated the hall. The morning bell blared, signaling the start of the first day at Lindsay Middle School on Sept. 4.

Unbeknownst to the students, a surprise awaited just beyond the metallic blue doors. As each grade marched through the front entrance, Hampton University students were posted along the hallway to cheer them on, along with faculty and staff.

As parents and their eager sixth grade students burst through the doors, flooding the front entrance, they heard shouting: "Day by day, I wanna be a lion!"

The chant echoed through the yellow and blue brick halls, covered with murals of majestic lions, encouraging the young students to a jungle they will soon tame.

The event was sponsored by Hampton University's Greer Dawson-Wilson Student Leadership Training Program (SLP), and included Booker Elementary School and Lindsay and Benjamin Syms middle schools.

"I saw a light in those kids' faces," said Dr. Chevese Thomas, Principal of Lindsay Middle School. "Some of them don't get encouraged like this at home, so it really makes me feel good to see that they can look up to people like you."

Some staff and administration joined in with the chants. Assistant principal Mr. Deon Garner danced with the Student Leaders while cheering for the middle schoolers.

"It's a great thing you all are doing for these kids, we really appreciate you all," Garner said, before snapping a group picture with the student leaders.

Accompanying the students at Lindsay Middle School were a sea of parents and younger siblings, eager to watch the first day of middle school.

"The parents loved it," said senior Christian Caudle, the SLP student who organized the event. "They love recording moments like this and seeing that they have that older support from college students for their child."

Hampton junior Mia Luckett believes that being a positive example for the younger students may push them to want to succeed in school. Luckett was in the sixth grade hallway during the morning event.

"Hopefully us being there will let them know that school is a good thing," Luckett said. "I just want to make an impact on at least one kids' life."

3 Hampton U. students participate in Nation magazine conference

By Leondra Head

NEW YORK – Three Hampton University students represented the campus at The Nation magazine Student Journalism Conference, where students discussed how to cover politics and social movements with professional, award-winning journalists.

Kathryn Grant, Leondra Head and Alazja Kirk represented Hampton's Scripps-Howard School of Journalism and Communications on March 24, the only Historically Black College or University at the conference. These students said they enjoy learning innovative ways to enhance their reporting skills.

"The conference opened my eyes to a lot of new ideas," said Grant, a freshman from Houston. "Each and every person came from different places with different experiences and ultimately allowed me to learn from them through their success and mistakes. I learned a lot about how to report and how reporting on things that the audience does not already know shines an even brighter light on prevalent issues."

The one-day conference brought together 60 student journalists from across the nation from schools such as Columbia University, University of Florida, and the University of California at Berkeley.

The day started with a panel about how movements are responding to President Donald Trump and how to report on those social movements. The panel consisted of The Nation journalists Ari Berman, Julianne Hing, Sarah Jaffe and Emmy-Award winning journalist Collier Meyerson.

"I've reported on social movements and protests in response to Trump's presidency," said Meyerson. "Journalists must get the juice of the story by interviewing protestors who were a part of the movement. Knowing how to report during intense protests will make you all better journalists." taught me well about what to expect, so I was able to keep up with the fast pace of the program and excel."

Students also engaged in a sports movements panel where Dave Zirin, a sports editor for The Nation, discussed how to accurately cover athletes when speaking against social injustices. Zirin reported on NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick when he decided to kneel during the singing of the National Anthem when players were requested to stand during the patriotic song. Kaepernick publicly expressed his opinion on the social injustices African-Americans face.

"The media had a field day when Kaepernick sat down during the national anthem," said Zurin. "No one expects for an athlete to voice their concerns about social injustices because they can be blackballed." Zurin also expressed his concerns on how the media publicizes black athletes' wrongdoings more in comparison to white athletes. He said, "It's important as a journalist to accurately report the truth and hold to the same standard regardless of an athlete's race."

The day ended with students networking with each other over dinner in The Nation's ballroom. Students talked about what they had learned during the conference and how they can apply those things in the classroom once they return to their respective colleges.

"I significantly learned a lot on how to be a better journalist overall," said Samantha Smith, a graduate student at Columbia University. "I can now cover protests better that happen here in New York and be more confident when I go out into the field to report."

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Hampton U. student wins 3 awards at journalism boot camp

GREENSBORO, North Carolina – A Hampton University student received awards at the the 25th Annual NABJ Short Course program March 15-19.

Aliah Williamson, a senior Journalism major from San Diego, was among 30 students selected to participate in this intensive program. The NABJ Short Course is four days of journalism training that gives students first-hand experience on what it is like to be in the news business. During the hands-on workshop students produce their own newscast, webcast, podcasts and other media materials. The students also attend seminars and are mentored by industry professionals.

The NABJ Short Course program celebrated 25 years of being at North Carolina A&T State University here. The program was started by Nagatha Tonkins to help students prepare for the fast paced and cutthroat world of news. To celebrate, the NABJ Short Course program hosted a Celebration Gala and Awards event with prestigious alumni of the program returning to celebrate.

The keynote speaker of the event was American Urban Radio Network White House Correspondent April Ryan.

At the Celebration Gala and Awards event, Williamson represented Hampton University well. For her work at the short course, she was awarded the Sidmel Estes Best Producing Award, the Ted Holtzclaw Award for Overall Excellence and a scholarship for excellence from NBC Vice President of News Anzio Williams.

Williamson said, "I attribute all the success and give credit for all of the awards to Scripps Howard School of Journalism. My professors taught me well about what to expect, so I was able to keep up with the fast pace of the program and excel."

Williamson encouraged juniors and seniors interested in broadcast journalism to apply for the 2018 Short Course.

"The Short Course opportunity is one that should not be missed if you are serious about being a news reporter," she said. "The information and networking that you get from it can't be duplicated in the classroom, and it's much better to learn it now than when you're on the job."

You must be an NABJ member who has paid national dues in order to access the application. Visit for more information

Clash of titans, journalism vs. strategic communications

By Victoria Blow

On Feb. 24, Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications hosted a discussion by Simone Weichselbaum and Bill Keller, the staff writer and editor in chief of the Marshall Project, a non-profit news outlet that focuses on criminal justice.

It touches on topics ranging from Investigative reporting on the criminal justice system, short pieces with context analyzing the news. The Marshall Project avoids doing what everyone else is doing, said the speakers. They published a daily newsletter and partner with larger news organizations such as NPR.

The idea is to get the most eyes on their stories, said Weichselbaum and Bill Keller.

Keller told a story about Neil Barsky, who was inspired create this project because of his parents courageous acts during the civil rights movement to facilitate open housing.

Keller also said Barsky was inspired by "Devil in the Grove," a Pulitzer Prize-winning book about a rape case in the 1940s that highlighted the civil rights work of Thurgood Marshall. Barsky was so struck by this book that he began to dig deep and research this event. He came to the realization that people needed a voice for these stories and created the Marshall Project.

The speakers talked about the ethical dilemmas that journalists face in publishing stories and the need for people of color in newsrooms to shed light on stories that get thrown under the rug.

Weichselbaum was able to offer the journalism students tips and strategies on how to cultivate sources and who to seek relationships with if you're a journalist in a new city.

"You talk to three different people and they'll each have a different version of the truth," she said.

Not only did she have truth for journalism students, but also for the Strategic Communications students as well, whether they liked the delivery or not.

Assistant Professor Drew Berry asked the 50-student audience if strategic communications students are of service to reporters for information? Many students said "no" due to their connection and ties to the brand or company they serve.

Weichselbaum in turn ruffled some student's feathers. "What do they teach you in flack school?" she asked.

Rashad Williams, a senior strategic communications major, answered, "Aside from what we're taught, service was brought into question and I think that PR students and PR work is more of servitude depending on what field that you're in. The same PR position you would hold for a corporation can be for black businesses. The core competencies that we learn are similar to journalism and can be applied in a different way."

Scripps Howard School students were surprised to learn that outside of these walls the world of journalism and public affairs is actually divided among the truth seekers versus the brand preservers.

"This is the first time I've heard of a bad relationship between public relations professionals and journalists," Jennifer Lowe, a strategic communications major from California.

Assistant Professor Lynn Waltz said, "I hope that students recognize that there's a lot of really important work to be done. Too many students think they want to be in the limelight. Sometimes you can do far more in the role of a journalist telling the truth for your country."

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Black women and space exploration at Hampton museum

By Kenya Waugh

The Hampton History Museum is to honor three of the many women behind NASA's space expeditions in an exhibit called, "When the Computer Wore a Skirt: NASA's Human Computers," opening Saturday. The exhibit will feature articles and pictures which document women's contribution to American history.

Starting in the 1930s, the Langley Research Center hired five women to resolve engineers' formulas calculated in flight and wind tunnel tests. By 1942, these women became vital to the success of NASA through their scientific results. In the following decade, NASA integrated its computing coalition and included African-American women.

"These women were absolutely integral to the process, working as specialized mathematicians on complex orbital mechanics with their brains," said museum curator Allen Hoilman. Hoilman decided to create the exhibit after previously meeting Katherine Johnson, an African-American woman whose calculations helped successfully launch John Glenn into space in 1962. He cited Johnson's math manual development, which today's engineers use.

Hoilman began gathering memorabilia in May for the exhibit, in an effort to capture an ignored yet pertinent part of history. The exhibit has three components: a section about computer systems at NASA during the 1950s, a video biography about Johnson called "Katherine Johnson: The Girl Who Loves to Count," and artifacts such as a mechanic calculating machine. The exhibit also highlights African-American mathematicians Dorothy Vaughn and Hampton native Mary Jackson.

While some Hampton University students saw "Hidden Figures," a film released in December that detailed the stories of these women, others who did not found the museum's new exhibit relevant to their own history as African-American college students.

"I think this story is extremely important because black women aren't taught that we are future scientists, or at least I wasn't in high school," said Alexis Weston (pictured right), a sophomore English major from Temecula, California. Weston also said that as a Hampton student, she feels directly related to history thanks to Jackson's work. Other female students interviewed resonated with the stories of Jackson, Johnson and Vaughn on a deeper level, as many felt that the female engineers empowered black women to achieve their goals.

Njeri Fullwood, a sophomore psychology major from Largo, Maryland, said that she wanted to especially see the film and learn about their story with her younger sister: "My mom took both of us and we all cried. These women were going through so much while still doing what they loved. My sister really wants to be a nurse later in life, and I want her to understand that the possibilities are endless for black women."

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Character, fiscal discipline define Hampton U., said president

By Taelor Bentley

William R. Harvey, EdD, president of Hampton University and Chairman of the President's Advisory Board on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, sat down and spoke with C-SPAN about the impact of HBCUs in our country and also about Hampton and what it has to offer. Harvey described Hampton as a wonderful institution that provides the very best education possible with the best and the brightest students.

"Hampton has always had the movers and shakers in this country associated with us," Harvey told interviewer Pedro Echevarria of Washington Journal. Financier and philanthropist John Rockefeller, inventor and philanthropist George Eastman, and engineer and politician Coleman DuPont were a few of the big names who have served on the board of trustees. Harvey took pride in saying that Hampton University is among the greatest and proves it as well by emphasizing character development, honesty and respect among all students.

Although this university only has 4,400 students, when asked if he was concerned about its size and longevity, Harvey made it clear that Hampton has chosen to have a small student body and could have many more students based upon the 19,000 applications it received for 1,000 openings the previous year.

When being interviewed for the position of the university president, Harvey said he told the board he planned to run Hampton University as a business for educational objectives. Since becoming president, Harvey has propelled the school from $29 million in endowment to $288 million. There is also a new $225-million proton therapy cancer treatment center that has treated over 1,000 patients.

"Our legacy is one of high quality," stated Harvey. He believes the character of Hamptonians is extremely important, having talked about it multiple times during the 38-minute interview.

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

C-SPAN to interview Hampton U. President William R. Harvey

By Malik Jones

HU President William H. Harvey Hampton University President William R. Harvey will be giving an interview to C-SPAN "Washington Journal" 8:15 a.m. Thursday where he is expected to discuss his views on education and why HBCUs are still relevant in today's ever-changing society.

The televised interview precedes a noon-to 2-p.m. visit of the C-SPAN bus HBCU tour.

Since assuming the position of president in 1978, Harvey has been the flagship force of Hampton University for over 36 years. His dynamic leadership, charisma, and relentless pursuit of progress and growth have earned him numerous accolades throughout his life and made him one of the country's most esteemed university presidents.

In 2010, the Daily Press awarded Harvey its coveted "Citizen of the Year Award" for his work in developing the Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute. This facility is working to aid in research and treatment for various cancers, specifically prostate cancer, which is prominent within the Hampton Roads community.

In 2013, Hampton University received a five-year, $13.5-million grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities to begin a Minority Men's Health Initiative. This initiative is devoted to finding solutions to major health disparities plaguing minority males, specifically that of African-American men. Only through Harvey's service mentality and propensity to leadership could Hampton have secured such an important grant for such a worthy cause.

Harvey also serves at the pleasure of President Barack Obama as chair of his HBCU Advisory Board. Here, he works closely with other advisors and cabinet members to find solutions to the country's financial aid/student loan crisis.

Under his tenure as president, Harvey has trained 17 individuals who have gone on to become presidents of other universities. His most recent "graduate" was former Hampton Provost Pamela Hammond who is currently the first African-American female president of Virginia State University.

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Hampton U., NSU and EPA agree to collaborate

By Gabriella Barnes

Hampton University and Norfolk State University joined forces with the EPA and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Monday.

The agreement is expected to increase the number of minorities involved in STEM fields: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. By introducing minorities to these topics, the MOU expects to also inspire students to aspire to work in careers involving environmental science, air pollution, and water pollution issues, said officials at the conference.

HU President William R. Harvey was in attendance, along with EPA Mid-Atlantic Region Administrator Shawn Garvin, Norfolk State University President Eddie N. Moore, and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality Director, David K. Paylor.

"The EPA prompted this," said Janice Bolden, an environmental scientist with the federal agency. "We're always looking at careers, and HBCUs are a good feeder group."

Hampton University is no stranger to technological advancements in the science and environmental fields. There are currently 13 students pursuing Masters and Ph.D. degrees on campus at the Center of Atmospheric Sciences, said Harvey. These students are among a growing number involved in environmental science fields and Hampton continues its efforts to promote clean air and environmental advances.

The MOU also includes the program called LEAP- Linking Environmental and Academic Programs, located at Hampton and Norfolk State universities. The LEAP program was started in the early 2000s, directed towards high school minorities. LEAP came to Norfolk State in 2008 and targeted high school minorities in hopes of increasing their knowledge of air pollution, water conservation and general environmental welfare. Hampton University uses the LEAP program in its graduate school as part of the effort to increase air quality.

According to Garvin of EPA, several students from both universities called and reported concerns to the EPA. Students found high levels of air pollution and air monitoring and wanted something done. These reports were right on target, because of as of 2013 there were no federal rules against carbon pollution. The drastic climate change however prompted President Obama in June 2013 to address the issue. The EPA responded by establishing carbon guidelines last June.

Progress is being made in light of all the new regulations. There has been drastic change in air pollution and environmental health in the past 50 years, said Paylor of DEQ. There are now water treatments statewide and fish kills have been reduced to about 400 a year, he said. The United States also has had the best two years for air quality for 2013 and 2014, with nitrogen levels reducing, reduced acid rain, and increased environmental leadership.

The MOU between universities promotes innovation and discoveries in the environmental fields. While signing the MOU was not of any cost to either school, the MOU should reap economic benefits. The funds produced are to be used for job readiness, skills training, career education, exposure information and counseling.

Funds are also to be used for orientation to post-secondary education and training options, developing job opportunities, job placement, and Upward Bound for high school students in the Hampton Roads area, according to the agreement.

Additional reporting by Diamond Sydnoor. Photo by Mariah Summers. The trio are students in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

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